The MLB's Best Free Agent Relievers
If there is one thing that every team in baseball needs, it is quality arms in their bullpen. Our Ryan Finkelstein breaks down the top remaining free agent relievers for 2022.
By Zach Smith
When free agency re-opens after the lockout is over, we could see a mad dash of teams trying to lock up relief pitchers. Everyone needs arms for their bullpens.
While some great arms did come off the board, there are still plenty available right now that could impact your favorite team. Here are the top five relief pitchers that remain in free agency:
His curve has a 10 MPH differential from his fastball and generated a 30% whiff rate in 2021. Kelly can get in trouble by walking too many batters, but he’s still one of the best relievers in the MLB.
McHugh is one of baseball’s spin rate darlings. All of his breaking pitches have over 2,500 RPM’s, and his fastball has over 2,200 RPM’s, which ranks in the 90th percentile.
Relying primarily on a slider that averaged at 79.5 MPH and a cutter at 87.6 MPH, McHugh is not reliant on velocity and should still be an effective pitcher for years to come.
A first round pick by the Arizona Diamondbacks back in 2011, Andrew Chafin made his debut as a starting pitcher in 2014, but converted to be a reliever in 2015.
While he was great against everyone in 2021, Chafin was particularly tough on lefties. They hit just .170/.250/.223 against him. Like many elite relievers nowadays, Chafin’s best pitch is his slider.
Tepera was drafted by the Blue Jays in 2009 and did not make his debut until 2015. In his first four seasons in the bullpen, he was always reliable, pitching between a 2.95 and a 3.62 ERA.
He’s 34 years old now, but Tepera still plays like he’s in his 20’s. He’s not likely to sign with a team as a closer, but Tepera has legit experience as a late-inning reliever.
Jansen has been the best closer in baseball over the past decade. He has a career 2.37 ERA and is 13th on the all-time list for saves at 350, just 18 away from getting into the top 10.
Last season was another year at the office for Jansen. He converted 38 of his 43 save opportunities and pitched to a 2.22 ERA while striking out over 30% of the batters he faced.